Big day arrives for raceway boss

20:29, Nov 12 2012
Dean McKenzie
HUGE TASK: Dean McKenzie says preparing for Cup and Show Week has been hard work and fun.

Cup Day planning started on "day one of the job" for new Addington Raceway chief executive Dean McKenzie.

He took over from Shane Gloury at the end of Cup and Show Week last year.

"It's been busy but it's been fun," McKenzie said.

"The team here are amazing, so that makes my job a lot easier." The former Jade Stadium boss is no stranger to racing as most of his family are "enthusiasts".

McKenzie first attended Cup Day at Addington about 25 years ago and said "it's one of those events that play a part in your life".

Organising the "logistical monster" had its challenges, he said. "With any event of this scale, it's never the same two years in a row.

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"That's part of the excitement but it's also part of the challenge."

Setting up the corporate hospitality marquees was "quite a big undertaking", he said, as was the public village area.

"There are tables, chairs, food and beverages, live music and everything in between. It requires planning down to the last detail but that's what we do."

Bookings for the corporate hospitality areas had been "very strong" and the Lindauer Lawn had sold out the week before Cup Day, he said.

The raceway's main stand had to be demolished after suffering major damage in the February 2011 earthquake.

Thousands of dollars were spent on temporary infrastructure for last year's Cup Day.

"I'm very happy with how we've managed the process and I think we've improved on last year," McKenzie said.

"Cup and Show Week is a Canterbury institution and there's always going to be a lot to live up to."

For McKenzie, his first year in charge has been "all about the buildup to Cup Day". "Cup and Show Week is the sexy part of the Canterbury year."

McKenzie said he would be able to relax today as long as he looked around and "saw people smiling and enjoying themselves".

COOL BUT FINE BIG DAY

Showers may never be far away this week as the region prepares to celebrate Cup Day and the 150th Canterbury A & P Show.

Warnings last week to keep the brolly handy were still valid. However, the trend was for improving weather during the next few days.

Show Day, Friday, looked the least likely for showers.

For Cup Day today, there could be a few morning showers, but mostly sunny, dry conditions were expected for racing in the afternoon, although with a chilly maximum of 13 degrees Celsius. Temperatures were forecast to rise a little tomorrow and on Thursday to the mid to high teens but a few showers were still likely, more so tomorrow.

Predictions for Show Day were for increasing high cloud and mild temperatures in the upper teens.

MetService spokesman Dan Corbett said weak low-pressure systems would influence the city this week.

"For part of the week, we will be between these features, so the weather will be OK," he said.

Rain was expected to set in again on Saturday.

PLANNING YOUR NZ CUP DAY

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Gates open at 9.30am

First race at 11.50am

New Zealand Cup race at 5.15pm

Free buses: Pick up - 10.30am and 11.30am from Westpac Bank on Papanui Road and on Oxford Terrace, near Christchurch Hospital.

Drop off - departing from Old Stables car park at Addington Raceway every half hour from 5.30pm to 7.30pm

Corporate hospitality areas open at 11am

Horse owners can collect their passes from the Owners' Marquee adjacent to the entry of the stables

New Zealand Army Band performing on public stage from 1.30pm

Fashion heats take place in public village starting from 11.30am

Best dressed man and woman will be announced at the dais at 2.20pm

NZ CUP DAY BY THE NUMBERS

23,000 people

10,000 canapes

8040 savouries

3500 chicken thighs

4320 eggs

2900 linen napkins

2500 portions of salmon

1100 table cloths

1000 staff

750 kilograms of prime beef

500 kilograms of potatoes

380 portaloos

50 baked hams

24 water stations

19 ATMs

The Press